Ten years ago today, the Supreme Court shocked the nation with a ruling that declared legislation limiting campaign spending by corporations, unions, and nonprofits violated the first amendment. Since that calamitous decision to allow unrestricted political spending, we’ve witnessed the most expensive decade of American elections and the degradation of the average voter’s political power. The 2010 decision was the final nail in the coffin … Continue reading A Decade After Citizens United: Big Money Wins, Voters Lose
This week, barely noticed amidst all other, bigger headlines in Washington, the Senate confirmed a Labor Secretary who will be a disaster for working people. A corporate lawyer by the name of Eugene Scalia, with an anti-labor, anti-worker record longer than the list of labor complaints against the Trump organization, will be the country’s top authority on protecting workers and fighting for labor rights. In … Continue reading Meet the New (Anti) Labor Secretary
State taxes make the meat-and-potatoes work of government possible, but nickel-and-diming poor people on their meager incomes is not the way to raise them.
Last week, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Maryland and North Carolina’s gerrymandered district maps. More precisely, it ruled that it did not have the ability to pass judgment on whether or not a map is excessively gerrymandered along partisan lines. Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged in the court’s opinion that the maps were “blatant examples of partisanship,” but the 5-4 conservative majority fell … Continue reading Republicans Split Votes, Supreme Court Splits Hairs
From time to time, a news story about a very wealthy individual doing something very kind with their money goes viral. Billionaire Robert F. Smith recently paid off the student debt of the entire Morehouse College class of 2019. Hamdi Ulukaya, CEO of Chobani, paid off student lunch debts for an entire Rhode Island school district. Last year, Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario pledged to donate … Continue reading Rich People’s Charity Won’t Save The World
Last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted Regulation Best Interest, sold as a measure to protect everyday Americans’ retirement accounts from shady brokers. In reality, it’s a watered-down reboot of the Obama administration’s fiduciary rule, which was axed in 2017. The original fiduciary rule set concrete requirements to make sure retirement advisers put their clients ahead of their own profits and disclosed key … Continue reading Protect Retirees From Profiteering Vultures
When Floridians voted yes on Amendment 4 last year, they spoke loud and clear: 65% voted to restore voting rights for Floridians who completed a felony sentence (except for felony sex crimes and murder), opening the door for over 1.5 million disenfranchised Floridians to regain their voting rights. But on Wednesday, the Florida House passed a measure requiring those with felony convictions to pay up … Continue reading Florida Republicans Are Bringing Back Poll Taxes
As their first order of business, House Democrats introduced HR 1 as soon as the new 2019 Congress came into session. An anti-corruption, pro-democracy reform bill, the For The People Act is aimed at improving our democracy for all Americans by limiting the corrupting influence of money in politics and making voting easier, not harder. Today, it passed in the House without any Republican support. … Continue reading House Dems Votes “Yes” on HR 1, the For The People Act
Often times, as I look back over the past 40 or so years of my life and what has happened to tax policies across our large and wonderful country, I’m struck by the similarities between taxes for adults and homework for kids. I know, it’s a leap, but then the more you noodle on it the more the likeness becomes clear. From the first day … Continue reading Homework Is A Lot Like Taxes
Last week, we inched closer to knowing just what, if any, conflicts or tax evasions our Commander in Chief is hiding from the American people. During a House Ways and Means subcommittee hearing, Democratic members made their case for why it is imperative to see President Trump’s tax returns. Since announcing his candidacy, President Trump has refused to release his tax returns, making him the … Continue reading Closing In on Trump’s Tax Returns
For most Americans, the most painful aspect of the government shutdown has been the prospect of delayed tax returns. But for many of us — 38 million to be exact– starving is a real possibility. According to the US Department of Agriculture, Congress has appropriated funding for food assistance — SNAP, or food stamps– through February. After that, the Trump administration makes no promise that … Continue reading Fund SNAP and Save Local Economies
We’re a month into the government shutdown, and many working Americans, small businesses, and local communities are starting to feel the the economic strain from a lack of crucial government services. Contrary to popular belief, Washington, DC isn’t the only city affected – rural communities across the country are feeling the pressure, particularly those that rely on visitors to federal lands that are suffering from … Continue reading The Shutdown is Hurting Rural Communities
Thousands of the Internal Revenue Service’s “essential” workers will be required to work without pay during the ongoing government shutdown. With the IRS already underfunded under normal circumstances, these workers that have been called back in an effort to keep the tax refund season running smoothly will likely be even more overwhelmed. For millionaires and billionaires, this is great news. While most Americans don’t have … Continue reading Underfunding IRS Helps Wealthy Avoid Paying Taxes
This election season has been particularly ugly, exposing many weak spots in our democracy. After being defeated in statewide races, Republican legislators in Wisconsin and Michigan are spending what little time they have left before their new governors take power doing everything possible to subvert the will of their states’ voters. The partisan weakening of incoming governors’ powers, as well as undoing of citizen-supported measures … Continue reading Democracy Suspended in Wisconsin and Michigan
When he was running for the Republican nomination, and eventually the presidency, Trump made a number of campaign promises that have fallen to the wayside. The most disregarded of these being to “hire the best people” when asked how he would navigate domestic and international policy with no experience. Sure enough, he is elected and does hire a ton of people. How smart they are … Continue reading Trump’s Track Record So Far with Hiring “the Best People”
President Trump may not be able to say it, but it’s all but undeniable at this point that the Russian government attacked American democracy during the 2016 election. While the Russia story might get all of the mainstream news coverage, there’s another, more insidious assault on our democracy underway, and this one’s coming from within. Across the country, ballot initiatives– one of the only ways … Continue reading Direct Democracy is Under Attack
With all the talk surrounding money in politics, little attention has been paid to how this issue limits the candidate pool. Essentially, we are seeing now more than ever the devastating results of money in politics in the form of limiting the ability of potential candidates to afford running for office. There have been many reports on how expensive elections have become, but few have … Continue reading Who Should Run for Office?
*This post was written in response to the April 8th Wall Street Journal “You Won’t Believe the Names the Left is Calling ‘No Labels’” Some people want to have no labels applied to themselves, others of us choose to be labeled. I support certain candidates because I believe that certain policies will make our great nation the kind of nation where I want to … Continue reading Label Me, Please.
In his feud with yet another country, Trump has jeopardized the quality of life of millions of Americans already living paycheck to paycheck. His trade war with China will not end well, and it doesn’t appear to be wrapping up anytime soon. In the meantime, the working and middle class will suffer. For those who know little about trading and tariffs, Trump’s boisterous approach to … Continue reading Tariffs are a Tax on the Middle and Working Classes
The mayor of Mount Vernon, NY, a city of around 70,000 citizens just north of New York City, has been charged with several felonies, essentially for stealing money from his own campaign committee. Mayor Richard Thomas also spent tens of thousands of dollars raised for his inauguration on personal expenses, but that is apparently not illegal. New York State law clearly prohibits using money raised … Continue reading Elected Officials and Outside Income — Not a Good Match